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Naperville
Thursday, February 22, 2024

Transitions – How summer has changed for kids

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When I was in elementary school, summer was generally a time of self-organized pure play. I didn’t know anyone who attended summer camp. The first time I ever heard of kids going away for an entire summer was in the 1961 movie The Parent Trap. For several summers, however, I did participate in a dance program offered through the public schools. What fun: rehearsals, costumes and an end of summer performance at the city’s band shell!

Barbara BlomquistMy children have had far more opportunities. There were softball, ice skating, soccer, swim team and a wonderful camp that allowed them to experience five days of independence from mom and dad—no phone calls home! And, once, dehydration.

Although it seems counter-productive to fill the summer with activities, it is also practical. Our schools cannot gear programs to all of our children all the time. We expect experience to go beyond the three R’s. And who wants their children to waste 12 weeks of perfectly useful time?

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Recently I wrote about a seminar offered at Argonne Labs for 8th grade girls about careers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics). I got a response from Jacque LeBreck, an Argonne employee who helps plan the program. Last year she and her husband Chris brought Engineering for Kids to Naperville. They have already served almost 500 families in morning through evening programs for children (boys and girls) ages 4 through 14 — programs that encourage critical thinking, problem solving and collaboration.

“(Students) are introduced to STEM curriculum through hands-on project based learning: Aerospace, Civil, Robotics, Marine, Mechanical, Industrial, Electrical, Chemical, Environmental & Electronic Game Design.”

Too bad Engineering for Kids was not around when my girls were in school. Maybe then my engineer husband would have had a daughter follow him into the sciences. And no dehydration.

For the summer schedule, visit https://engineeringforkids.com/location/ cws.

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Barbara Blomquist
Barbara Blomquist
Barbara Blomquist is a Naperville resident, wife, mother, quilter, and screenwriter. Contact her at BWBLomquist@aol.com.

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